As social support: Relational closeness, automaticity, and interpreting social support from paralinguistic digital affordances in social media

Caleb T. Carr, D. Yvette Wohn, Rebecca A. Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many social media facilitate paralinguistic digital affordances (PDAs): one-click tools for phatic communication to which senders and receivers alike ascribe meaning. This research explores the nature of social support perceived from the receipt of PDAs within social media, seeking to understand how individuals ascribe supportive meaning to PDAs based on (1) their goal in the post to which the PDA was used as a reply, (2) relational closeness with the PDA provider, and (3) the perceived automaticity of the PDA received. A national survey (N = 325) explored the receipt of PDAs across five social media, and facilitated cross-platform analysis. Analyses reveal both main and interaction effects among the three proposed antecedents, so that intentional PDAs from relationally close providers to messages seeking social support were perceived as most supportive. Findings reveal individuals heuristically make idiosyncratic sense of the same cue from different senders in different situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume62
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

Keywords

  • Interpersonal ties
  • Paralinguistic digital affordance
  • Phatic communication
  • Relational closeness
  • Social media
  • Social support

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